Man held in '09 case of Super Bowl porn

2011-02-05T00:00:00Z Man held in '09 case of Super Bowl pornKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 05, 2011 12:00 am  • 

The Marana Police Department and FBI celebrated Super Bowl XLV a little early Friday by arresting a man they suspect inserted 37 seconds of X-rated pornography into the local telecast of the 2009 Super Bowl.

Frank Tanori Gonzalez, 38, was arrested shortly after 5:30 p.m. Friday at his home in Marana on suspicion of fraud and computer tampering.

Gonzalez was a supervisor and longtime employee at Cox Communications at the time of the incident, and left the company's employment shortly afterward, said Assistant Attorney General Michael Jette. Gonzalez was in the Pima County jail late Friday.

Two years ago, Tucson received a great deal of national attention when someone cut into the game with less than three minutes left to play with a clip from "Wild Cherries 5" showing a woman unzipping a man's pants, followed by a graphic act between the two.

Even comedian Conan O'Brien made light of the incident on his show.

That year's Super Bowl - which featured the Arizona Cardinals losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, was shown locally on KVOA. The station sent its signals - both standard definition and high definition - to Cox Communications, which then sent them to Comcast.

Only those watching the standard-definition feed of the game on KVOA saw the clip.

KVOA officials said the station's signal didn't have porn on it when the station sent it over to Comcast.

Amy Rezzonico, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, said the X-rated footage was running on a Cox channel at the same time as the Super Bowl was being shown on Comcast.

Comcast ended up offering a $10 credit to all of its 80,000 subscribers, whether they witnessed the scene or not.

Last year, officials with Comcast said they had strengthened their security system and turned over the investigation to the FBI.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Nathan T. Gray said, "The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to investigating individuals who breach their administrative responsibilities by committing fraud and computer tampering."

A preliminary search of court records indicates Gonzalez has no past criminal history in Arizona.

Jette and Rezzonico declined to comment on why it took more than two years to make an arrest in the case.

Comcast issued a statement saying the company handed the investigation to the FBI after it conducted its own investigation.

"As we suspected, the interruption of the 2009 Super Bowl in Tucson was an intentional malicious act," the statement read. "We appreciate the FBI's diligence in thoroughly investigating the programming interruption and determining what happened."

Reporter Jamar Younger contributed to this story. Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or kimsmith@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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